Saturday, January 28, 2012

This week's jazz picks and news

Tonight (Saturday, Jan. 28)  at the AQ: the Bryan Nichols Quintet. Pianist, composer, arranger, and educator (and new dad) Bryan Nichols is in a major creative music-making phase. Earlier this month, he played the music of Keith Jarrett at a special concert at the AQ. This time he’ll play his own music (and some Jarrett, too) with his excellent quintet: Brandon Wozniak, Michael Lewis, James Buckley, JT Bates. 9 p.m., $12.

On Saturday and Sunday, Century College in White Bear Lake hosts its 23rd annual Jazz Festival. The music starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday. Trumpeter Roger Ingram is this year’s featured performer. He has played with Woody Herman, Harry Connick Jr., Wynton Marsalis, Ray Charles, and Frank Sinatra. Here he’ll perform with the 17-piece Century Jazz Ensemble. There’s a reception before each show with complimentary wine, cheese, and dessert. The Joel Shapira Quartet will perform during the receptions. $20/$10 students.

On Saturday at Studio Z in St. Paul’s Lowertown: Monk in Motian. This group reinterprets the music of Thelonious Monk through the musical style of late drummer Paul Motian’s Electric Bebop Band. Motian’s band was pianoless—remember that Monk played the piano—so already we’re hearing the music differently. Monk in Motian is Pete Hennig, JT Bates, and Davu Seru (drums), Brandon Wozniak and Scott Fultz (saxophones), Zacc Harris and Park Evans (guitars), and Matt Peterson (bass). Eight of our finest musicians. 7 p.m., $10.

On Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon at the Bloomington Center for the Arts, Joan Griffith and Sam Miltich will play a program called “Guitarists Extraordinaire,” with guest vocalist Connie Evingson. They promise the Brazilian styles of Samba, Bossa Nova, Choro, and Baiao, standards from Django Reinhardt and Cole Porter, and original compositions. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday in the black box theater. $18 adults, $16 seniors and students, $15 TCJS members.

On Monday, the great blues singer Eric Bibb comes to the Dakota. I’ve seen him twice now, in April 2008 and May 2009, and he’s magical. Just a man in a hat with a guitar, singing songs about hope, loving kindness, and happiness. Excuse me, are we talking about the blues? Bibb calls his music “upside-down blues” because it’s about life’s joys, not life’s problems. BTW, Bibb is the godson of Paul Robeson, nephew of John Lewis (of the MJQ), and son of folk singer Leon Bibb. 7 p.m., $20.
A heads up: Kurt Elling comes to Orchestra Hall on February 18, sharing a double bill with singer Lizz Wright. It’s the perfect Valentine’s Day present for your sweetheart.

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